Timeshare Scams in Mexico

Life is not just about working or being busy in your lives regularly. Vacation time makes for a healthy lifestyle. It refreshes you, this period of peace. Nowadays, people tend to avoid the hassle and uncertainty of booking unknown resorts or camping spots. It can also get burdensome and almost impossible to own a property in touristy places worldwide. Timeshare properties come to help in such a situation. It is the latest trend for your fun-filled holiday period, wherever you wish to go.

Mexico’s lovely climate, beautiful beaches, and affordable charges attract hordes of people for their holidays yearly. In addition, who doesn’t wish to own a dream second home in the Mexican paradise? This has further led to numerous timeshare scams in Mexico. For a start, let’s see the meaning of a timeshare.

What is a Timeshare?

For those unfamiliar with this term, a timeshare is a vacation property involving mutual ownership. You can share the property amount with other buyers in a regular timeshare estate. With some pre-booking, this ensures your vacation time at that property whenever you want. You will find that timeshares are commonly available in smaller units existing within a larger resort or hotel.

  • A timeshare agreement lets you split the costs of homeownership, deeded or not. Non-deeded contracts give you the right to use a timeshare unit.  
  • Some agreements have each buyer owning a portion of the property, called “fractional ownership.” At the same time, others allow you as a buyer to lease the property for a while without actually owning it. This period usually spans several years.
  • You can use a timeshare property with multiple usage options;
  1. Fixed week.
  2. Floating.
  3. Fractional.
  4. Points system.

Timeshare Scams in Mexico

Timeshare scams are in the rise in the last few years globally. But specifically in Mexico, there have been several incidents of timeshare scams. The travel limit imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic further escalated the situation. Federal government agencies and officials in some western states have been issuing the latest warnings and precautionary measures about scams targeting owners of timeshare properties in Mexico mainly.

You must be cautious in your dealings as a Mexican timeshare owner. Generally, people get dazzled by Mexico’s scenic views and beauty, impulsively buying a timeshare. When the adrenaline wears off, they sometimes regret their hasty decision because timeshares need constant maintenance amounts yearly, apart from the launching price.

Fraudulent people try to take advantage of the buyer’s regrets. They offer to resell the timeshare. Such offers are most likely a scam. Mostly Canadian and American ex-pats conduct such scams, so the owner feels like blindly trusting them. Because the general feeling of the buyer typically is that a fellow national is offering an excellent solution for their situation.

Leading investigative institutes issued a notice warning consumers of increased timeshare scams. They usually consist of a sudden call from someone claiming to be a firm or travel agency representative.

Possible Types of Timeshare Scams

Identifying the possibilities of a timeshare scam in Mexico can make it much easier to avoid them in the future. Some common ones include:

Advance fee scam 

Advance fee scam deals with a scammer who promises to sell your timeshare for a hefty upfront fee. You may get fake purchaser documentation or a sales contract from the supposed company. 

Such documents look legitimate, but once you transfer your money by wire, the reseller will most likely block you from their contact list. You will never hear from them again.

 Bait and switch scam

As the name suggests, you get baited first and then scammed later. The fraud starts with a scammer advertising a Mexico timeshare for sale at a discounted price. When you get hooked by the lower prices offered, you contact them in advance for more details. 

You get a representative from unscrupulous sellers who then try to convince you to buy a different Mexican timeshare. One which is more expensive than the one advertised.

 Ghost buyer scam 

You get scammed with a ghost or phantom buyer scam while trying to sell or resale your timeshare in Mexico. This is where you get a scammer claiming to have already found a buyer for your Mexico timeshare. This phantom buyer is ready and willing to pay a retail price. The glitch is that the buyer’s agent will require an upfront fee or other charges to complete the sale. 

Once you pay the demanded amount, the scammer drags out the transaction, claiming delays. Later, you get a request to pay more fees on top of what was initially requested. It leads nowhere, as an actual buyer doesn’t exist.

Rental scam

This is a scam in which you are contacted by a scammer offering to rent out your Mexico timeshare for an advanced fee. They may even provide you with fake rental agreements for your satisfaction. 

When scammers get upfront money from you, they only contact you again after paying the rental fees. They will keep ignoring your queries or messages from then on.

Transferring the deed scam 

This is the con where a scammer offers to transfer the timeshare property membership out of your name to some Mexican company for a trade fee. Once you pay the amount, the scammer will most likely either disappear or try to sell you an invalid deed.

Options for Resale Purposes

Though numerous timeshare scams exist, you can still have many robust options to resell your properties.

  • Look for a genuine company or broker that does not charge fees in advance. 
  • You may check with your timeshare property handler to inquire if they have a resale program or know of the company that has contacted you.
  • Conduct thorough research about a potential reseller before agreeing to any dealings. If you feel they are a scam, contact the relevant agencies in Mexico.
  • Always consult an attorney in Mexico or your home country to review all legal documents or contracts before signing anything.


Parting Note

The best way to avoid timeshare scams in Mexico is to be aware of their types and only work with a reputable resale company. An authentic licensed company will not require any upfront fees. Moreover, it will provide you with a sales contract in advance that explains all the sellers’ costs with no hidden surprises. Complete knowledge can help you handle your timeshare estates and avoid future scams.

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